Student placements are a great opportunity to gain first-hand industry knowledge and experience what most employers look for when hiring graduates. This work experience is a great tool for securing a graduate job, but also help with further studies.
Options for student placements
- A placement year (sometimes called a sandwich degree)
- A placement which runs alongside studying
- A placement organised by yourself
- Skills & knowledge
Placements will give you an opportunity to learn skills and knowledge specific to the industry and your degree. The things you learn can be applied to future roles, learning and assessments. There has also been some research linking higher grades to completing placements at University.
Unless you’re a mature student, a placement will be the first ‘real’ job you have. A placement gives you valuable insight into what a future job could entail, the areas you’re interested in and what working in the industry is like. Not only will experience provide you with industry experience, but you’ll understand how a workplace operates, expose you to a diverse range of people and how to act in a workplace.
Showing that you’ve worked within the industry is a huge positive when applying for graduate jobs. You will have gained a first-hand understanding of working in a similar job, have degree level knowledge, have experience with collaborative & individual ways of working and an all-important reference. The so-called ‘foot in the door’ and possibilities of networking can also prove very beneficial later in your career.
- Working Abroad
Some placements are offered in different countries outside the UK, and these provide such a rare opportunity. This will not only provide you with the advantages listed above, but also an understanding of cultures, language and how businesses work in other countries.
- A Break
By breaking up studies, or even stopping them completely, some students can become reluctant to restart studies. There is also the thought of not finishing Uni the same time as your friends, and missing out on spending 3rd year with them. However, fear not, you won’t be alone in your final year and there will also be other placement students who return who will have had the same experience as yourself.
Whereas some universities offer sandwich degrees, others leave placements totally up to their students. If there is no support, it could be difficult to organise the logistics and plan your placement with a company. It may be worth asking student support for some guidance on organising a placement, they will give you all the help they can provide.
Finding a correct balance when completing a placement is key, in order to devote enough time to each area of your life.If your placement runs alongside your studies, it may take up some of the time you’d usually spend studying, going to the library and extra research. Also, there is the added temptation of earning money, and the difficulty of going back to not earning a salary.
Tips for if you want to do a student placement
- Plan ahead
- Apply for lots of different roles
- Get as much support as possible
- Put all your effort into the placement
- Say yes to trying new jobs/ tasks